There is no doubt that the end of the summer brings a lot of changes in the softball world. Teams are looking for players and players are looking for teams.
For the player and her parents, there are a couple things to consider before you start going to tryouts. What are you looking for and what are you willing to sacrifice to get what you are looking for. Once you know these things you are on your way.
There are many reasons why players migrate to new teams and I’m not here to argue the pros and cons of staying or leaving. We are going to look at the questions you need to ask the coach of the team you are considering joining.
- How many players do you plan on carrying? The more players a team carries, the more competition there is for playing time. Are you willing to compete for a spot or do you want guaranteed playing time?
- What is the team’s schedule? How many tournaments will the team play? If you want to play a national schedule where you travel a lot or a local schedule where you never leave the state would be very valuable information to have as you make your choice.
- How many players are returning? While there are no absolute rules to selecting a team to play on, a team that has a lot of turnover should raise some questions. Not that you have to cross that team off your list, but you should ask some follow up questions.
- What kind of recruiting network do you and your staff have? For a player just venturing into the recruiting process, knowing their coach can be an asset is important to know. Of course, not all players want to play in college, so then this question is not important.
- What kind of culture or atmosphere does the team have? If you can watch the team play before you try out, that would help you answer this question for yourself. If you can’t see them, then talk with the players and parents on the team to get a feel.
- What do you expect from the parents? Is there a fundraising requirement? Are parents involved as assistant coaches? Do you ask parents to help with players who might need a ride or a place to stay on a road trip? It’s the players tryout but the whole family will be involved.
- How do you see me fitting into the team? This question might be appropriate before you even attend a tryout if you have been invited to attend a tryout. Or it might be a great questions when you have been asked to join and before you commit to the team.
- Playing time or winning? What is your philosophy? Of course, the answer to this question applies differently to different kids. Some want to win, a lot, others only care about how much they play. Be sure you know which one you are!
- For pitchers and catchers. Who calls the pitches? Do you include the players in the process or is it a coach-only process?
- What are your rules for discussing something that is a concern for the player or parent? 24-hour rule? Again depending on the age of the players, there may be a place for the player to address concerns while others where it is appropriate for the parents.
If you can get as much information as possible, you are going to make a better decision. Communicate with the coaches. Talk to the players. Ask questions of the parents. Knowledge is power. Gain as much knowledge as you can when choosing your new team.